Wanderers to play in 2018 Evergrande U17 International Championship

The Western Sydney Wanderers Academy will tomorrow depart for Guangzhou, China, to compete in the 2018 Evergrande U17 Football Championship. 

The prestigious tournament, run by Chinese Super League giants Guangzhou Evergrande, brings together some of the best youth Academies from around the world to compete in a knock-out competition.

The Wanderers Academy will face off against the hosts in Group A, as well as Dynamo Kyiv from Ukraine and Palmeiras from Brazil. 

Group B will be made up of Spain's Villarreal CF, Flamengo from Brazil, Penarol from Uruguay alongside locals Hubei Football Association from China. 

The top teams in each group will then enter the knock-out stage of the tournament with teams presented at the end of the Championship by ranking. 

Wanderers Academy Technical Director Ian Crook said it is an exciting time for the Academy to test themselves against some of the world's best. 

"We're really looking forward to the trip to Guangzhou and playing in a very prestigious and competitive youth tournament," said Crook.

"The matches will give us a chance to test ourselves against some of the world's best academies and give our players a great opportunity to learn from the experience."

The Wanderers participation in the competition will extend the Red & Black's footprint in Asia, having already played in three AFC Champions League (ACL) campaigns along with pre-season tours in the region.

Guangzhou and the Wanderers have had an interesting relationship over the years, having drawn each other twice in the ACL. 

The Red & Black defeated Guangzhou in the quarter-final of their first Champions League entry with the match marred by controversy when Evergrande coach Marcelo Lippi stormed the Parramatta Stadium pitch following two of his players receiving direct red cards.

The Wanderers progressed on away goals in the second-leg of the tie at Guangzhou's Tianhe Stadium before going on to be crowned Australia's first Champions of Asia.